Military Leaders Discuss U.S.-Pakistani Partnership

WASHINGTON, Oct. 20, 2010 — Defense Depart­ment lead­ers met today with Pakistan’s army chief of staff to dis­cuss mil­i­tary-to-mil­i­tary part­ner­ship and secu­ri­ty assis­tance as part of the Third U.S.-Pakistan Strate­gic Dia­logue under way this week.

Pen­ta­gon Press Sec­re­tary Geoff Mor­rell said Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates, Chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Navy Adm. Mike Mullen and Under­sec­re­tary of Defense for Pol­i­cy Michele Flournoy met with Gen. Ash­faq Parvez Kayani and mem­bers of his staff this morn­ing.

Mor­rell said dur­ing the meet­ing Gates expressed the department’s appre­ci­a­tion and recog­ni­tion of the Pak­istani military’s con­tri­bu­tions and sac­ri­fices in com­bat­ing ter­ror in Pak­istan and con­duct­ing coun­terin­sur­gency oper­a­tions there.

“[Gates] said that we are, of course, com­mit­ted to the secu­ri­ty and devel­op­ment of Afghanistan over the long term, but beyond Afghanistan and the impor­tant role Pak­istan plays in the ulti­mate suc­cess­ful out­come in that coun­try, we wish to build a long-term, wide-rang­ing [rela­tion­ship] with Pak­istan on its own mer­its,” Mor­rell said.

Mor­rell said Gates also apol­o­gized for the inad­ver­tent attack on a bor­der guard post that killed three Pak­istani sol­diers in Sep­tem­ber.

“He said it was unin­ten­tion­al, and we are work­ing with [Pak­istan] to ensure it nev­er hap­pens again. He expressed his con­do­lences to the fam­i­lies of the fall­en sol­diers,” Mor­rell said.

Mor­rell said the meet­ing also cov­ered the need to bet­ter coor­di­nate oper­a­tions along the Afghanistan-Pak­istan bor­der.

“We’ve been doing a much, much bet­ter job of that for many, many months now,” he said, “but this inci­dent clear­ly indi­cates there is more work to be done, and there was a resolve and com­mit­ment to do the hard work that it takes to bet­ter coor­di­nate our actions on both sides of the bor­der.”

The dis­cus­sion also fea­tured secu­ri­ty assis­tance top­ics includ­ing coali­tion sup­port funds, the Pak­istani coun­terin­sur­gency capa­bil­i­ties fund and for­eign mil­i­tary sales, Mor­rell said.

Accord­ing to a Pak­istani mil­i­tary press release, Kayani and oth­er offi­cials from his coun­try also will meet with oth­er U.S. offi­cials dur­ing their three-day vis­it to the Unit­ed States.

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

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